2021 CSS – Special performances

1. Performances in different types of races

The most spectacular performance of the 2021 cycling season was without any doubt achieved by Pogacar. Before the Slovenian only Merckx and Coppi have won 2 monuments ánd a GrandTour in one season. In 2020, Roglic came close with a victory in LBL and the Vuelta. At that moment he was the first since Danilo Di Luca (2007: Giro and LBL) and Damiano Cunego (Giro and Lombardia). to achieve that.

Cyclists with top-result in Monument and GrandTour in a single season.
Cyclists with top-result in Monument and GrandTour in a single season
Cyclists with a victory in a one-day race and a stage-race.

Roglic (Olympics ITT and Vuelta), Carapaz (Olympics RR and Tour de Suisse) and Colbrelli (BeNeLux Tour and Paris-Roubaix) have won a one-day race and a stage-race at UWT-level as well. Considering all professional races, 14 cyclists have won both a one-day and stage-race. Given that national championships (road races and individual time trials) are categorized as one-day races, this achievement is somewhat less unique. But still, it shows a high level off versality in the 2021 pro-peloton.

Talking about versality, another impressive performance in 2021 was by Wout van Aert. Van Aert finished top-10 in 3 out of 4 international championships: 2nd in Olympics RR, 2nd in WC ITT, 6th in Olympic ITT (and 11th in World Championship Road Race). Because WVA finished 2nd in the WC of 2020, he has now finished top-10 in all 4 biggest championships and finished on the podium in 3 of them. 15 active cyclists have won one or more international championships but not a single one of them has won more than 1 different events.

Cyclists with most top-10 results in different international championships at UWT-level.
Cyclists with top-results in multiple championship events (Olympics and World Championships)

Tadej Pogacar is the only rider besides Eddy Merckx and Fausto Coppi to win two monuments and a GrandTour in one season

2021 Cycling season

With a top-10 result in Paris-Roubaix (3rd) Mathieu van der Poel finished top-10 in all monuments, he is the only active cyclists together with Philippe Gilbert who did so. They both finished top-10 at the World Championships Road Race as well, MVDP in 2021 for the first time.

Van der Poel finished top-10 in all monuments and the Worlds in a time-span of 14 months (might have been only 8 month if Roubaix was held in 2020 or in April 2021).

Cyclists with top-results in most different monumental classics.
Top-results in different monuments

Gilbert is still by far most versatile rider in the monuments: he finished on the podium on all of them and won all but Milano-SanRemo. From the current big guns in one-day races Alaphilippe’s performance (3 monuments with a podium-result and a crash out of TOF in top-3 position) is closests to what Gilbert achieved in his career.

Cyclists achievements in number of different GrandTours
Cyclists achievements in number of different GrandTours

After 2021, 19 active cyclists have finished top-10 in all Grand Tours, Kelderman and Carapaz achieving that this season. Carapaz even finished on the podium of all Grand Tours, the 6th rider who succeeded to do so after Valverde, Froome, Quintana, Roglic and Nibali. Bernal won his second Grand Tour in 2021 (Giro), but unfortunately did not lead the GC of the Vuelta, which would have been the 3rd GrandTour leader-jersey for the Colombian.

Matej Mohoric won a stage in the Tour de France and is the 24th active cyclist with a stage-win in all three GrandTours. Winners of a Grand Tour stage in the Giro, Tour and Vuelta are Valverde, Greipel, Ewan, Froome, Martin, Viviani, Aru, Izagirre, Degenkolb, Cavendish, Mohoric, Trentin, Matthews, Quintana, Sagan, Gilbert, Roglic, Dennis, Bennett, Yates, Pinot, de Gendt, Dumoulin and Nibali.

2. Cyclists with their first victory

Cyclists with their first victory in 2021.

43 cyclist under contract of a World Tour- or ProContinental team won their first professional race in 2021. Almeida was the first-time winner with most victories in 2021: 6. 23 riders won their first race at UWT-level. Bisegger and Almeida both won 3 UWT-races in 2021 while not having won a UWT-level race before. Patrick Konrad took his first UWT victory after 51 top-10 results in races at the highest level. At that moment (and still) only Wilco Kelderman finished top-10 without winning more often.

Another remarkable group of riders are those 10 that won their first WorldTour race in 2020, but have not succeeded to win another race in 2021. Interesting fact: 6 of those 10 riders were winners of a stage in the 2020 Giro d’Italia: Hart, Hindley, Narvaez, Caicedo, Cerny and Guerreiro. Also 2020 TDF-revelation Marc Hirschi did not win a race in 2021 while taking his first pro-win previous season.

Bryan Coquard and Michael Matthews were the cyclists with most top-10 results without a victory in 2021. Matthews had a great season with 21 top-10’s at UWT-level, but failed to win a UWT-race. Also Viviani is a remarkable name in the list given that he won many UWT-races in previous seasons.

3. Consecutive seasons with top-results

Several cyclists performed very well for the so-manieth season in a row. Looking at the number of consecutive seasons with a certain achievement is a nice way to evaluate riders career-perfomances.

In 2021, the first impressive performance is by Peter Sagan, who won a race at UWT-level for the 12th consecutive season. Every year since 2010, Peter the Great won one or more races at the highest level. Except for 2020, (1 victory in Giro d’Italia) he won 3 or more races every season. Richie Porte is next the rider who has a series of seasons that is still running: 9 seasons. Porte’s sequence depends a lot on Tour Down Under, in 2020, 2019 and 2016 it was the only race of the season in which he took a UWT-win. In 2021, Michael Matthews’ sequence got disrupted, the Australian punchy sprinter did not win a race at UWT-level this season.

Cyclists with most consecutive seasons with a victory at UWT-level
Consecutive seasons with a victory at UWT-level

Considering top-10 results at UWT-level one gets a good sense of riders who are consistently performing at a high-level since the beginning of their career. Philippe Gilbert finished top-10 in a UWT-race every season since 2003, the year he made his debute in WorldTour races. Gilbert got his first top-10 result in the first stage-race he started: stage 1 in the 2003 Dauphiné. It was his 4th appearance in a UWT-race (after LBL, TOF and the prologue of Dauphiné).

In 2002, another active cyclists already started his sequence of seasons with a top-10 result. Alejandro Valverde finished top-10 at the highest level for the first time in stage 5 of the 2002 Volta a Catalunya. His ‘sequence of seasons with a top-10’ could have been 20, but got disrupted by the suspension in 2010 and 2011. Starting in 2012, Valverde now finished top-10 at UWT-level again for 10 consecutive years. André Greipel and Nicolas Roche finished top-10 for 16 respectively 14 seasons in a row and will not add another season to it. Nibali, Van Avermaet and Uran still have the opportunity to prolong their sequence. The sequence of Boasson Hagen ended this season, the Norwegian did not finish top-10 in a World Tour race in 2021. His 12th place in stage 12 of the Tour de France was his best UWT-performance.

Cyclists with most consecutive seasons with a top-10 result at UWT-level
Consecutive seasons with a top-10 result at UWT-level

Zooming in at performances in the biggest one-day races (Monuments), Greg van Avermaet stands out as most consistent performing cyclist. Golden Greg finished top-10 in a monument for 11 seasons in a row. Between 2011 and 2021 he finished top-10 in one or more monuments. His long sequence started with a 9th place in Milano SanRemo and GVA prolonged it with a podium-finish in the Tour of Flanders of this season. In 2022, Van Avermaet will participate in MSR, PR and TOF again. Peter Sagan is closely following with 10 consecutive seasons while Kristoff did not manage to finish top-10 in a monument in 2021. Consequently, there is a gap of 5 seasons behind Sagan: Woods, Alaphilippe and Matthews have a series of 5 years with a monument top-10.

Cyclists with most consecutive seasons with a top-10 result in a monumental classic
Consecutive seasons with a top-10 result in Monuments

Rigoberto Uran is the cyclists with the longest sequence of seasons with a GrandTour top-10 that is still running. Three active riders (Froome, Nibali and Quintana) have a longer sequence, but theirs got disrupted in previous seasons. After Uran, Wilco Kelderman finished top-10 in a GrandTour in 5 consecutive years. Roglic and Carapaz are the youngest riders in this list, who will probably prolong their sequence of GrandTour top-10’s in the coming seasons.

Cyclists with most coonsecutive seasons with at top-10 result in the GC of a GrandTour
Consecutive seasons with at top-10 result in the GC of a GrandTour

André Greipel won a stage in a Grand Tour for 10 consecutive seasons between 2008 and 2017, the longest period of all active cyclists in 2021. Sagan, Roglic and Alaphilippe have the longest sequence that is still running in 2021. Sagan won a GrandTour stage in 2011, 2012 and 2013 already, but did not win a stage in 2014 despite finishing top-10 13 times and 4 2nd places in the 2014 Tour de France. Sagan finished top-5 in the first 7 stages of the 2014 Tour de France. Alaphilippe has a sequence of 4 seasons with at Tour de France stage-win, From the active riders in 2021, only Greipel (2011-2016) and Cavendish (2008-2013) have a longer sequence of seasons with a TDF-victory (6 consecutive years).

Cyclists with most consecutive seasons with a stagewin in a GrandTour.
Consecutive seasons with a stagewin in a GrandTour


Sagan won a GrandTour stage for 7 seasons in a row. His sequence was disrupted by 13 top-10 results without a win in 2014, it could have been 11 seasons.

2021 Cycling season

4. Top-results in a single season

Finally, we take a look at the number of performances in a single season. In 2021, Roglic and Pogacar won 11 races at UWT-level. Only Mark Cavendish won more races in a single season, 13 in 2009. It was the 2nd time Roglic won 11 UWT-level races.

Cyclists with the highest number of victories at UWT-level in a single season.
Number of victories at UWT-level in a single season.

Pogacar’s 30 top-10 results at UWT-level (stages, GC and one-day races) are an impressive amount, but still 12 less than Sagan’s 42 top-10 finishes in 2018. Among active riders, no one comes close to Sagan’s consistency in 2018 (and years before).

Number of top-10 results at UWT-level in a single season.

It’s the third time that Pogacar is involved in an impressive performance regarding achievements in a single season. The Slovenian youngster received 24 leader jerseys after a stage in UWT-races. In 2017, when Froome won both the Tour and Vuelta, Froome received 34 jerseys and he is the active rider with most received UWT-jerseys in a single season. Froome also holds the record for most leader jerseys in a single GrandTour: 19 in the Vuelta of 2017. Pogacar received 14 in 2021 Tour de France and Bernal 13 in this years Giro d’Italia.

Cyclists with the hihger number of leader-jerseys recveived after stages at UWT-level in a single season
Number of leader-jerseys recveived after stages at UWT-level in a single season.

One finale noteworthy performance are the 8 top-3 finishes of Roglic in this years Vuelta a Espana. Sagan, Bennett and Nibali achieved the same but no one finished more often on the podium in a single GrandTour. In the Tour de France, Jasper Philipsen finished top-3 6 times, without winning a stage. Quite impressive consistency in the sprints by the young Belgian sprinter, who won stages in the Vuelta later in the year..

In the next article performances will be analyzed on the team-level. If you have any remarks or questions, please contact us at statsoncycling@gmail.com, or leave a remark on Twitter or Instagram.

Published by statsoncycling

Cycling Statistics is an initiative by Daniël Herbers. From Maastricht (Netherlands) he talks and speculates about performances and developments in cycling with fellow cycling-addicts Jesper, Sjef and Sander. Cycling Statistics (@statsoncycling) aims to share and highlight unique performances and provide useful insights in male pro-cycling. Daniël is a runner and biker, lives with his wife and three children in Maastricht and is employed at Statistics Netherlands (Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek).

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